Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is widely accessible to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals in Kenya. Their long term use is associated with chronic complications such as lipodystrophy which may lead to stigmatization, reduced self esteem and poor adherence to HAART. This cross-sectional study described the prevalence of lipodystrophy, the phenotypes and severity among adult HIV infected patients on chronic HAART at a HIV clinic in Kenya. Data were collected using an investigator administered questionnaire and anthropometric measurements done using a protocol based on the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The prevalence of lipodystrophy was 51.3% (confidence interval (CI) 45.6 to 57.6). Lipoatrophy occurred in 44%, lipohypertrophy in 15% and mixed syndrome in 41% of patients with lipodystrophy. Facial atrophy occurred in 75.7% of patients with lipodystrophy, upper limb atrophy in 48.5%, and lower limb atrophy in 36.8%. Abdominal obesity occurred in 40.4% of patients with lipodystrophy, breast enlargement in 30.9% and dorsocervical fat accumulation in 5.1%. Most patients had severe lipoatrophy, whereas lipohypertrophy was described as mild to moderate using the HIV out-patient study (HOPS) scale. HIV associated lipodystrophy was common in HIV-infected patients on chronic HAART. The main phenotype was lipoatrophy which majority of the patients described as severe.
Key words: Lipodystrophy, highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), nutrition surveys, obesity, abdominal.
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